The Prince of Wales has spoken about his affection for 'inquisitive and delightful' red squirrels as he praised the volunteers helping to protect the animals.
Charles said he admires the creatures and he lets them roam around his Birkhall home on the Queen's Balmoral estate.
He even leaves his jackets outside with nuts left in the pockets for the squirrels to feast on.
The prince marked today's Squirrel Appreciation Day by writing a letter to thank the volunteers for their hard work.
The Prince of Wales has spoken about his affection for 'inquisitive and delightful' red squirrels as he praised the volunteers helping to protect the animals
Charles, who is patron of the Red Squirrel Survival Trust (RSST), previously revealed that his fondness for the native species started from watching them while growing up on the Sandringham estate.
In his letter, he heralded the thousands of RSST volunteers who form a network of more than 100 groups across the UK. They help feed the squirrels, look for signs of disease and set up squirrel ropes to allow them to safely cross above busy roads.
The prince wrote: 'I am so very grateful to all of you for the crucial role you play in this ongoing battle to protect and restore a precious part of our natural heritage.
Charles said he admires the creatures and he lets them roam around his Birkhall home on the Queen's Balmoral estate
'They are such inquisitive and delightful characters. I take enormous pleasure in having them around – and in! – the house when I am at home in Scotland.'
He added: 'They have even been known to hunt down a few of their favourite nuts left out in an unguarded jacket pocket!'
There are now fewer than 140,000 red squirrels in the UK and the RSST warned that they will become extinct within ten years without action to protect them.